The end of the local amateur men’s season on the Island is here. The Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Cup Finals Day will mark the end to what has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, seasons in recent history.
Coming out of a cancelled year, something that had not happened for over 100 years, and coming out of strict protocols during a pandemic, we are all grateful to be playing the game.
The VISL has four cup finals at Starlight Stadium in Langford this year on Saturday March 26th. Here’s what’s on the championships slate.
10.00am will see Nanaimo United go against Lakehill in the George Smith Under 21 years Cup.
Nanaimo are heavily favoured and have had a very good year. It will take a special effort from the Saanich team to take down the division champs. The U21 division is meant to keep young men playing, bridging the gap for some so that they get ready for the older teams in the open men’s divisions. Both teams are quick, both teams have great skill, and we look forward to these players progressing on to the next level.
12.30pm will see Juan de Fuca Kings go up against Gorge Us-Guys in the George Pearkes Challenge Cup.
The Challenge Cup is the second tier for players, known to go on and compete in the B Cup for BC Soccer in the Provincials, which kick off next month.
This will be the last game formally for the Us-Guys as the team has been promoted to the 2nd Division, and will most likely go a different direction. They have had a great run for the past almost decade, and will look to finish in style. JDF has had a coming out year and will continue to have good success as their senior program is trending in the right direction. JDF is considered the David here, and will look to take down the Gorge Goliaths.
3.00pm will be a live streamed game – the Tony Grover Masters Cup. This is for the player group that is 35 years plus and streaming will be on the VISL Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/VancouverIslandSoccerLeague/live_videos.
Many of the participating players have had long successful years with the VISL and abroad and this years game will have Cowichan 49ers vs Vic West FC.
This is a pretty evenly matched game as the teams have defeated each other once and had a draw this season. Cowichan did have a better regular season overall and were in a battle with nemesis UVic last weekend to just miss out on winning the division. Vic West has had a come back type season adding new players and hoping for successes while celebrating their 125th year of local soccer.
This game will also have a mini Timbits style game at halftime as TIDE Soccer Academy players from Duncan/Cowichan aged 5-9 will battle it out.
5.30pm sees the last game of the day, and without a doubt the most prestigious trophy in the VISL cabinet – the battle for the Sir John Jackson Cup.
This game will also be live streamed, and can be followed along at: https://www.facebook.com/VancouverIslandSoccerLeague/live_videos.
Competed for since 1915, this year’s match will feature Nanaimo United vs Bays United.
It was an especially tough draw for Nanaimo as they had to defeat both the Division 2 and Division 1 champions to get to the show. Finishing 2nd in the Island’s top tier, they are the team to beat. Bays had a tough start to the season, but through excellent community support, have rallied to get back to the show themselves.
There is no doubt this will be a highly contested match, but Bays will need that special effort to overcome a Nanaimo team as they look to repeat as Jackson Cup champs.
There will be another mini timbits game at halftime and these teams will feature some of the U7/U8 boys that play out of Lakehill. Team Green (Jalapenos) vs Team Black (Ninja’s) – it will be 10 minutes of goals, the occasional good tackle, and attempted nutmegs.
As with all our Finals, post game trophy presentations will take place, as well as individual medals, and game MVP’s. Like the majority of our games here on the Island, local referees will be officiating the game. These individuals have worked hard over the course of the season to stay in shape, and do a great job. Congrats to all officials selected to the cup finals.
Admission for the whole day is just $5.00 per person. Kids 12 and under are no charge. There will be a full concession open and vaccination passports will be checked at the entrance gates.
Thanks for continuing to support local grassroots soccer – the kids and men that live, work, and go to school in your community up and down the Island. It’s been a great season and Finals Day starts an exciting couple of weeks for football at Starlight Stadium with Pacific FC kicking off their campaign to defend the North Star Shield in the Canadian Premier League on April 10th and the Canadian women’s national team continuing their Olympic Gold Medal celebratory tour with a game against Nigeria the following evening.